Sühlmann, who has worked for Mercedes, the PSA Group and Volkswagen before moving to hypercar-maker Bugatti as its exterior creative development boss, arrives at a time Aston Martin’s line-up is gaining faster and more driver-focused models.
The Valkyrie hypercar stands out as a halo product, but the upcoming DBS Superleggera and rumoured new Vanquish look set to become more accessible examples of the shift, which will move Aston Martin away from its existing rivals like Bentley and closer to supercar makers such as Ferrari and McLaren.
The new DB11 and Vantage have kick-started the transition, while the DBS Superleggera, which is due for reveal next month, is hot on their heels, with a 700bhp turbocharged V12 engine. In 2021, a reborn Vanquish, first scooped by Autocar, will arrive as a rival to the Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren 720S.
However, the ongoing Valkyrie project is said to be proving most beneficial to Aston Martin’s plans because of its partnership with the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team, which is co-developing the hypercar. The car maker’s colour and materials manager Libby Meigh said during this week’s Autocar Awards that the Valkyrie was positively influencing designers, aerodynamicists and engineers across the company.
“It [the Valkyrie] is definitely having a knock-on effect that will trickle down into other models,” she said. “We’re learning a lot from Red Bull Racing about how to maximise performance; there’s a lot to learn from a Formula 1 team.”